Agile Facilitation and The Techniques by Krishna Chodipilli | Jun 22, 2021 | Agile Methodology, Leadership Tribe What is agile team facilitation? Agile facilitation is the art of managing groups and providing the fundamentals so they can work collaboratively and identify a path forward that most stakeholders can buy into. It also builds the foundation for team self organization. How do you facilitate in agile? As a facilitator in agile, you need to use techniques and team coaching to ensure the goals of a meeting are realised. Ideally, all stakeholders will feel they have been listened to and that they can buy into the conclusions of the meeting. What is the role of a team facilitator? The role of an agile team facilitator is to promote a facilitation mindset as well as guide and manage the agile team to be successful by using agile principles. This includes identifying and helping remove blockers to make sure a team can meet their objective. This is different from a scrum master role as the agile facilitator is framework agnostic. What are the benefits of agile facilitation? The benefits of agile facilitation are that meetings are properly managed and make all stakeholders feel heard, reduce confrontation and enable a team to come up with objectives everyone can agree on. This applies if the meeting is in-person or online. 5 Agile Facilitation Techniques: You Need to Make Your Meetings Go with a Bang In the sphere of agile transformation and development, agile facilitation is a discipline in its category and the role of an agile team facilitator is making sure the conditions exist for a meeting’s objectives to be realised. This goes far beyond standard agile practices and it can be a tricky task to play little part in the meeting, but still guide it in the right direction. If you’ve either been designated as the agile team facilitator or chosen the role, you might have had trouble fulfilling it, so with this in mind, here we look at some effective agile coaching and agile meeting techniques so that your meetings achieve everything they set out to do and reach the desired outcome for all. TECHNIQUE #1 – DOT VOTING Whether the team members are business analysts, marketing executives or software development experts, the first technique for designing meetings with your team is one that offers a voice to everyone in the room. A consensus is formed by going to each person individually and getting their opinion. After you’ve gone around the room, the ideas are ranked by popularity and either acted upon or discarded. This allows people to go further than their core competencies and explore other potential ideas. TECHNIQUE #2 – BRAINSTORMING Whilst brainstorming is not a new concept, by any means, it’s still an effective way to kick-start your meeting. Also known as ‘affinity mapping’, it’s a great way to get ideas out there that otherwise might not see the light of day. From agile coaches to agile project managers, there are ways to map out ideas that balance the team overall. TECHNIQUE #3 – SPIDER WEBBING Another fun way to innovate is a game-based technique known as spider-webbing, which is essentially a type of context diagramming with your own set of rules woven into proceedings. It’s a fun way to gain insight into the flows between departments, systems and having team leaders mentoring people within a team and it’s something that only involves using pictures i.e. no words. It’s also something that will break the ice and get the creative juices flowing. It makes for an interesting learning experience. TECHNIQUE #4 – PRE-MORTEM A fantastic way to address risk management is pre-mortem, which relates to death-planning and it involves considering things like your bucket list, as well as things you can do to remain safe and healthy. It might sound morbid, but it helps get the discussions started and it can yield really meaningful results as well as set up learning objectives overall for the team, getting them thinking about retrospectives rather than just pre-requisites for instance. TECHNIQUE #5 – BUY A FEATURE If you’ve ever felt frustrated by the inability of stakeholders to make decisions relating to prioritisation, Buy a Feature is a great technique for getting people talking about it. It will likely not result in agreement all around the table, but during the process, you will typically gain useful insight into what’s important, review core facilitation tools and needs, while looking at several potential iterations and the areas in which negotiation might be possible. IN SUMMARY: What is good facilitation for an agile mindset? The role of an agile team facilitator is diverse and these are just some of the innumerable techniques that you can use to be an effective agile facilitator and you can believe us when we say that there are many more. You can develop your style, of course, but if you get stuck and you don’t feel like the meetings that you’re facilitating aren’t meeting their objectives, injecting a little structured fun into proceedings can help all teams focus, whether project managers or product owners or any representatives across the entire organization. People think better and are better at decision making when they’re stimulated and that’s exactly what these kinds of techniques are designed to achieve. Get creative in your meetings and you might be surprised about what you can achieve with your team members. Learn more on how to develop your facilitation skills and how to adopt a facilitation mindset. Contact Leadership Tribe today.